Huskies Fall Just Short Against No. 4 UCLA

Nov. 6, 2009

Box Score

SEATTLE - The Washington women's soccer team hung tough with No. 4 UCLA but U.S. National Team player Lauren Cheney was too much for the Huskies to overcome as the Bruins escaped a miserable night and treacherous field conditions for a 2-1 victory Friday at Husky Soccer Field.

The Huskies are now 11-5-3 overall and 3-3-2 in Pac-10 play heading into their final game of the regular season on Sunday. UCLA is 16-2-1 and 7-1-0 and kept their hopes alive of earning a share of the conference title.

The teams slugged it out through a constant downpour and sloppy conditions, with all three goals coming in the first 25 minutes of the match.

Cheney got the Bruins on the board first, scoring in the seventh minute when UW goalkeeper Kari Davidson came out to try to make a sliding stop of a ball rolling toward the box, but the ball bounced off her and went right to the feet of the All-American Cheney, who sent in a shot from 10 yards out for her 12th goal of the season.

The Huskies would answer right back, however, when Perez scored on a similar play in the 16th minute. Kate Deines threaded a ball through a pair of UCLA defenders and the Bruins' keeper Chante' Sandiford came out to try and secure the ball, but Perez beat her to it and flipped the ball toward the goal for the breakaway, tapping it in from close range for her fifth goal of the season.

But the Bruins took the lead back 10 minutes later when Cheney struck again, this time taking a touch from Lauren Barnes and firing a shot past Davidson to give UCLA the lead for good.

After that point, the squads adjusted to the awkward bounces and sluggish play of the ball on the soaked field, but neither team would score again. After UCLA outshot UW, 6-4, in the first half, the Huskies turned the tide and outshot the Bruins, 6-3 in the second half including several good chances in the final minutes of the match.

With just 12 minutes remaining, the Huskies nearly scored a goal similar to the first two. McKenna Waitley chased down a loose ball that stopped dead at the top of the box before Sandiford could get to it, but as it rattled around between her and the Bruins defenders, she was unable to get a shot off toward the empty net.

Just a minute later, Perez beat a UCLA defender and created an opening for a tough shot from the far right side, but Sandiford made the save to deny the senior the equalizer.

Perhaps the Huskies best chance came with just six minutes remaining when sophomore Alex Webber broke free for a breakaway down the right sideline and fired a tough angled shot toward the far post, but the ball trickled just wide and the Bruins escaped.

The Huskies held possession over the final 10 minutes and had a pair of free kick and corner kick opportunities, but were unable to punch it for a second goal. Sandiford came up with four saves in the match, as did Davidson.

UW also had a shot early in the first half off the foot of Kelli Stewart that went off the post.

Perez's goal was UW's first against the Bruins since 2004. UCLA has earned at least a share of the Pac-10 title every year since 2002.

'Those were tough conditions, but they were tough for both teams. It was a game of will and determination and at the end of the day it becomes about a special player who, when she has an opportunity, she finishes,' Washington head coach Lesle Gallimore said of Cheney. 'We can talk about everything in between all you want but at the end of it all, the scoreboard is what speaks and the people who have the mindset to finish are the ones who are going to be successful more often than not. Lauren Cheney is a special player. That second goal, I feel like we could have attacked it better, but we let her post up at the top of our seven-yard line and she brought down a beautiful ball and buried it. With that said, I felt like we had enough opportunities and we had enough of the ball to create chances. We have one more chance on Sunday to make Monday a foregone conclusion.'

The Huskies conclude the regular season at Husky Soccer Field Sunday at 11 a.m. when they host No. 21 USC on Senior Day. UW will then find out its postseason fate on Monday, when the NCAA Selection Show airs on ESPNews at 5 p.m. PT.

Pac-10 Women's Soccer
UCLA 2, Washington 1
Husky Soccer Field; Seattle, Wash.

Scoring - 1, UCLA, Lauren Cheney (unassisted), 6:50. 2, UW, Veronica Perez (Kate Deines), 15:15. 3, UCLA, Lauren Cheney (Lauren Barnes),24:06.
Shots - UW 10, UCLA 9
Corners - UW 5, UCLA 6
Saves - UW 4 (Kari Davidson), UCLA 4 (Chante' Sandiford).
Fouls - UW 9, UCLA 9
Offsides - UW 2, UCLA 1
Attendance - 498

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